Wake Ed

Wake County school board committee backs Highcroft change

Parents at Highcroft Drive Elementary School in Cary hold up signs at Tuesday's Wake County school board work session asking for the school to be put on the traditional calendar.
Parents at Highcroft Drive Elementary School in Cary hold up signs at Tuesday's Wake County school board work session asking for the school to be put on the traditional calendar. khui@newsobserver.com

The Wake County school board’s facilities committee backed Tuesday recommendations from staff to convert Highcroft Elementary School in Cary to a traditional calendar and to leave three schools on the multi-track year-round calendar.

Committee members said switching Highcroft for the 2016-17 school year will help meet the need for more traditional-calendar seats in western Wake. Board members also said it wasn’t efficient to leave Highcroft on the single-track year-round calendar or to convert it back to multi-track year-round.

In multi-track schools, students are split into four groups, or tracks, with three in session at all times to increase the campus capacity. When growth slowed, Highcroft was switched to single track, where all students follow the same year-round calendar in case there was a need to move it back to the multi-track schedule.

“The move to single track was never intended to be permanent,” said school board member Susan Evans, who represents the Highcroft area. “It was a stopgap until the point in time that we would convert them back to multi track. Now we’re not leaning towards thinking they’ll be multi track any time in the near future.”

School board members acknowledged that they’ve received lots of feedback from Highcroft parents who both support and oppose the switch to the traditional calendar.

“This is a situation where there’s significant numbers of people that are going to be unhappy with any decision that the board will make,” said school board Vice Chairman Tom Benton.

The committee also supported the recommendations to leave Brier Creek Elementary in northwest Raleigh and Salem elementary and middle schools, both in Apex, on the multi-track calendar. Staff will review the calendar again at Salem next year.

The full board will vote on the recommendations July 21.

Wake has cut back on the number of multi-track schools, going from 51 in 2009 to 38 now. School board members said Tuesday they still support year-round schools.

“We’re certainty not turning our backs on year-round education,” Evans said. “Lots of folks think that’s a great program. But the reality is there’s still plenty of opportunities in that area for folks who want to continue on that program.”

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